Thursday, July 10, 2008

On Homeschooling :)

My sister answered these questions on her blog & i was looking for another post of hers & so i didn't even read her answers. To be honest, i always feel a little intimidated by these types of questionaires, like, what if i get an answer wrong? Or say something i didn't mean? Anyway, the same questions came up on a homeschooling support thread i'm on (not much lately, but i sure have gotten a lot of support from the Tidbits ladies :)

Anyway, i thought i'd try answering them on my blog...

Why do you homeschool?
There are so many reasons we've chosen to homeschool. At first it was just a gut feeling that it was what we needed to do with our first born (& i'll be honest here, it was *my* gut feeling, Neil nervously gave me his go-ahead...)

Over the years, i've had so many affirmations that this is what we're suppposed to be doing & this is where we're supposed to be. i love being able to catch bad attitudes, or wrong thinking, or hurts & fears before they become stumbling blocks for my littles. i also love being around these little people. ~ They're helpful, interesting, smart and funny, & public school would just take up so much (too much) time.

What technique or curriculum do you use? Do your kids work above or below grade level (or both!)?
Hmmm... this varies by year. i've got 6 years under my belt & 3 different children ~ At first i started out with Sonlight & i am a huge fan of their booklists. As i added more children & a bigger age span to the mix, it just didn't work for me quite as well ~ but i think with using it for my first 2 years of homeschooling really shaped the way i think about teaching. Now, i just put together whatever i think works & try to make sure that good quality books & resources are available to them. i love Saxon math for grades 4+. i'm pretty laid back as far as schedule goes (there's a baby in the house!) but again, this changes year by year. Some years, we've just had a different 'feel' or fallen into a different rhythm. Chores are part of school, as is teaching homemaking & loving each other & learning about our faith & The One who gave us life. Is it fair to say technique & curriculum is 'mish mosh'? As for above or below grade level ~ i'm guessing here, but i think we've probably got a bit of both. We take the PAT's in grade 3, 6 & will in 9 too, so Cai took them this year & we got half of her grades back & she scored a 90 & a 94 ~ i was so pleased with that ~ even though i know those grades don't mean much & i'm homeschooling for much better reasons than grades ~ it was heartening to know that, as my sister jessie said, "Cairo completly rocked the testing in an arena where she wasn't taught" ... otoh, we've had areas where i know they're doing more, or better at public school, but i figure, i've seen my guys have different lags & spurts in different subjects. i'm confident it will all even out in the end.

What is your educational level? Do you feel this has an effect on your teaching (both limits and abilities)?
I have highschool & i finished a 2 year program at a community college in music. i'm not sure if my educational level limits my ability as a teacher, so much as i wish i had more brains!! i've seen a lot of people with little schooling who are driven and intelligent and capable of learning. i want my children to see in me a willingness to learn & most of all a willingness to let God bend me & teach me & mold me until the day He calls me home. i think He'll cover what i lack.

What does your daily schedule look like?
We get up & have breakfast & start right into school. As the children get older, & need less supervision, they can work by themselves with little to no help from mom. My oldest will make bread in the mornings if we're getting low. i find the littlest ones need a lot of mom time when they're learning to read. We have a list of chores that is different for each day of the week & we try to get those done after lunch & some people still have work to do for school. We usually have some time with mom reading out loud in the afternoon & the other biggie is we try to have the house clean for when dad comes home. Even when we didn't have a teeny baby in the house, it wasn't much more structured than this. i set yearly goals & figure out what they'd need to accomplish daily to meet those goals (ie. a lesson of math every school day, or 2 pages of mcp...etc..) & then about 3 times during the year, we'll check our goals & see how we're progressing towards them & make changes if we need to... i've noticed we've been doing less 'bookwork' & we tend to have a ton of free time/ reading time these last couple of years. Seems to be working...

Are your kids always polite and ready to learn?
Really? Did they have to use the word "always"? Is anyone going to answer yes??

So, the short answer: no. But, i'm so pleased with their good attitudes towards learning. i've found i'm really lucky with my littles being very teachable. Other people have complimented me on this one with my kiddos, & i think it's one of their strengths. BUT, my kids have problems with manners sometimes (i'm horrible with interrupting & they're worse, sometimes we're all talking loudly at the same time & it's not pretty...)

Do the kids (or you!) get frustrated? How has this affected your parenting?
Yes ~ sometimes i think they get frustrated if i'm distracted, or busy... & i *know* i get frustrated with delayed obedience which to me isn't really obedience... or disrespect, or *sin* :) i was just thinking about this last night; what am i doing wrong that it takes tears every night & an hour long fight to get my 4 & 6 yo's to bed?! i'm thinking i need to be consistent. i would say that my frustrations are working to 'refine' me as a parent & as a human being.

How much free time do they have? What do they do during their free time? What hobbies do they have?
Actually to be honest, they have a ton of free time. Sometimes in little snippets during the day & sometimes in big long chunks too ~ especially during the summer. In their free time, they play together. They like to draw or play 'house'. They go to the park by our house, rollerblade, bike riding, playing in the backyard. They like baking with mom, or playing with the baby, blogging on the computer, or playing games. My kids all love swimming ~ (even Gage loves going to the pool!) & we try to go every week, they're all learning to play the fiddle & some the mando, & on & off over the years, we've done different activities with them: gymnastics, dance, art classes, classes at the museum, soccer, baseball... etc...

Right now, Gage is napping, Mollen is sick in bed with the barfies, & the other 4 are pruning the bushes in the backyard & using the clippings to make bouquets in their flower buckets they painted at Peyton's birthday party.

What difficulties and challenges do you have with homeschooling?
Never being done everything (or anything)... There's always *more* that i could have done or could be doing. Choosing to do the best i can do & then leaving the guilt behind is *hard*. i also struggle with my lack of knowledge about certain subjects. i wish i was a little more skilled, or knowledgable about certain subjects, but then again, that's part of the fun of homeschooling, learning all the stuff you missed the first time...

What makes homeschooling enjoyable?
i love it all. i love learning, i love the lifestyle & most of all, i love being with my kids.

How do you get involved in the community?

We participate in our church & have made friends in our community. The kids have been involved in different things over the years (see the question about hobbies...)

i've also made it our goal to do 'garbage clean up' around our neighbourhood a few times a year. The kids actually enjoyed this:) We've also (through our church) gone to the seniors center a few times & played fiddles. We've moved a lot over the years & have been involved in different ways & in varying amounts depending on where we've been.

When do you have opportunities to interact with public or privately schooled children? Would you like more of these opportunities? How can they be created?

We go to church, awana, at the park... i don't think i'm aching for more of these opportunities. Socialization is not a huge worry for me. Sometimes i wish i was a little more social, but i'm learning & trying & i think i'm improving. i think the best way to make these opportunities is by following the teaching in the bible about 'practicing hospitality'. i think we need to worry less about perfection in our homes & be concerned instead with *people*. God loves *people* & i think i need to learn to be more loving & generous with my home & my life.

What is your least favorite homeschool stereotype?
Hmmm... i don't like the insinuation that you're taking away opportunities (post secondary education) by homeschooling...

Hmmm... i don't think i even know all the stereotypes that are out there. It's funny 'cause i know a lot of homeschoolers & there's not *any* that do it exactly the same as each other, we're a different bunch, with different reasons & different approaches, different resources, different children, different husbands. i can't imagine how you could paint us all with the same brush...

Pheuf! Long winded! This took forever to fill out! & i'll probably change my mind about all my answers tomorrow, but there you have my answers for today.

my teeny bookwormies :) ~ they'd be in different classes at ps.

Sorry the second picture is blurry :) i kept it 'cause it's a funny little snippet of "real life"... i can't breathe, i'm fat & tired & pregnant... let's do math...


mamazee said...

I didn`t know you answered this on your blog! but i`m glad i found it - i`m catching up on your posts :)

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